Cairo, Personal

Some days are better than others.

On the days when I have the most to say, I am the most tired and often want to collapse in front of the TV for a good movie. But tonight I don’t even have the energy for that. And I need to get to bed early, so I don’t have the time either. So I am going to try to get some of those thoughts down to clear my head before sleep.

There were a lot of thoughts running through my mind today. It’s been a rough day. And it started at around 1am with Sebastian getting up for the night with his poor gassy tummy. We didn’t get back to bed until 5am and up a few hours later.

This week has been a bit challenging in the way that living in a developing country can be. It takes its toll when you walk all over your neighborhood, down the busiest roads — with your son in the baby carrier because a stroller wouldn’t be safe enough crossing the streets — and come up with nothing that you set out to find. We went to ten stationary stores in Maadi, I didn’t even know there were that many. Not one had padded enveloped or boxes which I needed to get our first shipment of calendars ready and posted.

Despite the road blocks, I remained positive. I was pleasantly surprised by the shop keepers helping me best they could, me speaking in English and them speaking in Arabic and using smiles and gestures to come to a common ground. Not once did we get frustrated with each other and this felt good.

I decided to compromise and got regular envelopes with a bit of cardboard to keep the calendar flat. Made of sturdy card stock, it was just an extra precaution. I found an old box for the big shipment and doubled up on envelopes for the others. I stayed up later than I wanted to in order to get everything addressed and taped up.

The breaking point came mid-morning, at about 4am, when I was more than exhausted and up with Sebastian. Calling my mom, thankful for the 7 hour time difference, sobbing about living in Egypt. Sometimes I can handle all the little quirks involved with living in Egypt, but less so at 4am after being up for a few hours and having only slept a couple.

I had a bit of a meltdown at the post office when they insisted on opening everything to go through it, even though we showed them what was inside. ‘What if we stuck money in between the pages?’ Somehow, there was a manager that made it his mission to make me happy. He took care of everything and sent us on our way, after reassuring me that the packages would be easily opened and re-taped. Of course Customs isn’t likely to be so kind.

We set off for Garden City to Sebastian’s ABM session. I wasn’t sure how he would do since he had little sleep but he was brilliant. He was so happy and did so well. Anticipating moves, moving with intent, scooting, reaching, rolling. Awesome. Short aside: I love doing ABM and am thankful that even though our practitioner is going out of town for a couple months, (miraculously) another woman has arrived just three weeks ago that will take her place with us. The added bonus is that she lives in Maadi!

Sebastian was exhausted and our trip back to the post office was not without hiccups. We had to go back to pay for the postage and take care of the paperwork side of things. Our taxi driver didn’t know how to get there so what would have been a 25 min drive turned into one of going in circles. Sebastian decided to cry until we got out of the car and although the taxi driver gave us a picture of his wife and children to look at (?!), Sebastian was only momentarily cheered. He then found a taxi driver in another cab that could lead us to where we would go. Despite the high charge on the meter from all the circling, the driver insisted I had paid him too much. This was another first as taxi drivers sometimes don’t think you give them enough, even when you really do.

We finally made it and there was more to do with the packages than anticipated. Some of this involved taping up a box they decided to put together for one of the shipments that I was planning to ship as two since I didn’t have a box. I was grateful that they did this and could see they took great care, even if some of the words were misspelled on the return address. (Road–Rode) At least it would make it to the destination intended.

Back to the taping. Sebastian HATES the sound of packing tape. It upsets him so much, as do many loud sounds like mixing machines, vacuums and the like. So while they are taping he is screaming. Tired, hungry and not liking the loud sounds around him. The other workers were visibly upset that he was upset and tried to cheer him to no avail.

Despite the horrible situation that would have been so much easier in a developed country, starting with the availability of proper envelopes and boxes, and not having everything opened and resealed, we were still blessed with people that were trying to help us out.  I make this point because it was very unusual. Most times people just don’t care. They have their own agenda and you are not on it.

When I was walking home today from our walk to the club, Sebastian sat in the stroller crying the whole way. It was his tummy again and although he tried to have fun at the club, content on the swing and slide, he was miserable all the way home. I looked at everything as if it was for the last time. Not because we are leaving Cairo for good, but because someday we will. And I want that day to not be too far into the distant future. Not because it is a miserable place to be, but because it is not the best place to be for us.  For Sebastian. And to explain that is another post.

For now, I must get some sleep. It’s early to rise tomorrow. We are selling the Seb Can Do Calendars at the Maadi Women’s Guild Christmas Bazaar. Hoping to sell lots and lots. We still need to recover our publishing costs.

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2 thoughts on “Some days are better than others.”

  1. Kara,
    I’m so thankful you have your mom in your life and that people who interacted with you this day were a blessing as well. Relatively speaking, at least, it seems God really had a plan that involved helping you through a tough time. I pray you continue to feel that blessing and love. We love you.

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